how often should you wash your dog

How Often Should You Wash Your Dog? [Essential Grooming Tips]

Bathing is an important part of your dog’s grooming routine, but how often should you wash your dog? Depending on their activity level or coat type, the frequency of their baths can vary drastically. Bathing your dog too often can dry out their skin but not often enough can leave them dirty and musty.

A clean dog is a happy dog, and staying as clean as possible can improve both you and your dog’s lifestyle. This guide will explain in detail how often you should wash your dog, what you should use for the best bath, and other great bathing tips!

Why Is It Important to Wash Your Dog?

It’s essential to wash your dog for their overall health and happiness. Most dogs love to play outside or go for walks, and dirt, debris, or even insects can get stuck in their coats and paws. Some great reasons you should bathe your dog are:

  • Fewer Allergens: Allergens such as dust, pollen, or pet dander are often trapped in dog’s coats. Washing can help remove these allergens that can spread around the house. Not only are you washing away dirt, sweat, and odors from your dog, you’re also keeping the allergies away!
  • Manage Their Health: In addition to keeping their coat and skin in good condition, washing is also a great time to check your dog for any cuts or scrapes on their body. Active breeds, like the sporting dog group, can often get a few bumps and scratches when they’re outside playing. Washing your dog can also prevent fleas and clean any inflamed areas.
  • Reduce Shedding: Regular baths for your dog are a great way to prevent hair from getting around the house. A warm, thorough bath can help wash out dead hair and keep their coats healthy and shiny. Dogs with thicker coats may shed excessively during fall or spring as they transition with the hot and cold seasons, and baths can assist this process.
  • Bonding Time: Baths are a fantastic opportunity for you and your dog to spend quality time together. Ensure bath time is enjoyable for both you and your dog. Some dogs may hate baths, but they love spending time with their owners. Starting a regular bathing routine when they are puppies can help them become used to the whole process.

lab in bath

How Often Should You Wash Your Dog?

Generally, dogs need to bathe once every month or two. However, this time frame can differ between each breed depending on their activity level, type of coat, skin condition, or environmental exposures.

Coat Type

It’s important to know your dog’s coat type to manage their health and grooming. Dogs’ skin produces natural oils that protect them from the elements and keep their coat healthy. Overwashing your dog can dry out their skin and cause dryness and irritation.

  • Short-Haired Breeds: Dogs with short coats are the easiest to manage and only need a bath once every 2-3 months. Their shorts coats naturally shed dirt and oils, keeping them nice and clean. Make sure to brush them weekly to remove the dead hair.
  • Double-Coats/Thicker Coats: Dogs that have double-coats (both undercoat and overcoat) require more brushing but fewer baths. Washing too much can strip them of the natural oils that they need to maintain their longer coats. Frequent brushing can help remove any tangles or matting and distribute the oils evenly for healthier skin and fur. Look for a slicker brush, which is specially designed to penetrate the fur and remove loose hair from the undercoat during shedding season.
  • Oily Coats: Breeds that have greasy coats need more frequent baths. Their skin produces excess oils that can clog up their pores and create musty odors. It would be best to wash these dogs as often as once every 1-2 weeks to remove the “dirty” oils and allow their body to produce new oils.

Skin Conditions

If your dog has any health or skin conditions, it may affect how often they need to bathe. Dogs with allergies or skin infections may require regular medicated baths to help relieve their discomfort. If a dog has dry or itchy skin, they may need regular oatmeal or moisturizing baths to boost skin health.

Consult your vet or groomer for recommendations on how often to bathe your dog. They may also help recommend or prescribe various products to help improve your dog’s skin condition.

Activity Level

Highly active breeds may need to be washed more often since they are always outside running and playing. If they love rolling in dirt or swimming in the lake, they may need more baths to stay fresh and clean. Bathing is also a great way to clear out any sweat that builds up and control any odors.

Necessities for Washing Your Dog



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Before you start washing your dog, make sure you have everything you need for their bath. This ensures the process goes smoothly and makes the experience hassle-free for you and your pet. Your dog may want to run off and dry themself if you aren’t fully prepared.

  • Choose a Dedicated Spot: Have a chosen spot ready to wash your dog. A dedicated spot helps you gather everything in one area and normalize one particular place for your dog.
  • Dog Shampoo & Conditioner: Of course, you’ll need grooming products to wash your dog properly and keep them smelling good! Most gentle shampoos will keep your dog’s coat nice and smooth, so conditioners may not be necessary. However, if they have a longer or thicker coat, the conditioner may help detangle and prevent matting.
  • Dog Brush: Dog brushes are great for helping remove dead hair before and after the bath. Removing trapped hair from the coat before the bath makes detangling easier in the tub. After the bath, brushing can remove any moisture stuck in the coat and cuts down drying time.
  • Blow-Dryer: After their bath, dry your dog off completely. Any leftover wet spots can lead to irritation or infections. While dog-safe blow dryers are available, the average blow dryer on the cool setting is enough to dry them off.

What is the Best Type of Shampoo for Dogs?

There are many types of shampoo for your dog, depending on their needs. You can find extra-strength odor killer, hypoallergenic, flea removal, or even anti-fungal shampoos. Consult with your vet to determine which products are most suitable for your dog.

When deciding which product is best, look for the brands that use all-natural ingredients. This standard ensures the product contains no harmful chemicals. Some products may even include a “Certified Organic” label, which means they are highly regulated and approved by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Using natural, organic shampoos for your dog is better for their health and safer for the environment. Some great natural ingredients that can help prevent fleas are lavender oil or coconut oil. Look for products that use natural ingredients or essential oils instead of artificial ingredients and coloring.

puppy bath

CBD Dog Shampoo

CBD for dogs is a fantastic product that has many soothing properties. When incorporated into dog shampoos, it can help your dog mellow out and relax during their bath time. But did you know CBD oil for your pup also contains many amino acids and fatty acids that can boost hair growth?

CBD oil contains high levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which support hair growth. There are also traces of minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium – all great for nourishing hair.

At HolistaPet, we offer a great CBD shampoo for dogs. All of our products, including our CBD shampoo, are made with all-natural ingredients that put your dog’s health first. The formula is made with sensitive skin in mind and can be used for all breeds.

Made with 200 mg of full spectrum CBD, the natural shampoo also includes a protein conditioner to nourish your dog’s coat. To top it off, the mandarin berry scent leaves your pup smelling fresh for days!

How to Wash Your Dog

Washing your dog is not necessarily the same as washing yourself, and there are a few things to watch out for. Following these tips can make the entire process easier and more comfortable for your dog.

Bath Time Tips

  • Pre-Wash Preparation: After bathing, dogs love to shake off all that water, and it can get everywhere. Unless you are washing your dog outside, prepare a few towels within arm’s reach so you can quickly dry them. You may even want to use a non-slip mat to prevent you or your dog from slipping in the bathroom.
  • Use Only Dog-Safe Shampoos & Conditioners: Dogs have a different skin pH balance than humans and can have adverse reactions to a product meant for people. Make sure to use only dog-safe or vet-approved bath products to ensure your dog’s skin stays healthy and strong.
  • Check Water Temperature: Dogs have sensitive skin and are best washed with lukewarm water. Hot water can burn their skin, but cold water does not wash thoroughly. Always check the water temperature before washing your dog.
  • Wash and Dry Thoroughly: Dogs must be washed and dried thoroughly, so no bath product or moisture is left in their coats. If any shampoo or conditioner is left to dry on their bodies, it can lead to skin irritation, increased risk of infections, or hair follicle damage. If damp spots remain after the bath, it can lead to acute moist dermatitis.
  • Avoid Getting Water in the Ears: Try to cover your dog’s ears when washing to avoid any water getting inside the ear canals, which can be extremely painful and discomforting for them. Most groomers recommend washing from back to front and drying from front to back to limit the amount of water near their ears.
  • Give Positive Reinforcement: Many dogs do not like baths and get stressed whenever it is time to wash them. During the bath, give them plenty of affection and reassurance. After bath time is over, reward them with treats or toys to reinforce the enjoyable experience.
Related: How to Bathe a Dog: A Step-By-Step Guide for Responsible Owners

When to See a Professional Groomer to Wash Your Dog

Although it is great to learn how to wash your dog, it can be beneficial to take your dog to a professional groomer every once in a while. Groomers are equipped with all the high-end tools to get your dog looking as clean as they can be. They can also offer great tips and advice for washing your dog at home.

Groomers have seen it all, and they have the expertise to deal with many kinds of issues. If your dog develops grooming complications like hair loss or skin infections, a professional groomer is the best person to turn to for help. They can work around and even improve these conditions with their skills.

For some dogs, bathing may not be their favorite thing. Groomers are big animal lovers and can help teach you how to deal with an anxious dog at home. They can also help identify any issues, if any, and recommend good vets.

And sometimes, we might feel lazy or too tired to give our dogs a proper cleaning. Groomers will help you clip their nails, trim their coats (if needed), brush their teeth, clean their ears, and give your dog the VIP spa treatment.

Final Thoughts – How Often Should You Wash Your Dog?

Learning how often to wash your dog is important to their grooming routine. Many factors can affect how often you should wash your dog, but you will have a happy dog as long as they are clean and healthy. Specific products and tools will make the bathing process most beneficial to each dog’s needs.  Most importantly, use bath time to bond with your dog and get closer to them!



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